Bipolar disorder II is psychiatric disorder. Those with this disorder experience periodic bouts of hypomania. This disorder also characterized by episodes of extremely low mood (depression). Often between these extremes, the person’s mood and energy levels may appear to be normal.

How common is Bipolar Disorder?

Current research indicates about one in every 200 hundred people (0.5 percent) develops bipolar II disorder some time during his or her life.

What are symptoms of bipolar disorder in children?

  • aggression (mania)
  • emotional outbursts
  • impulsiveness
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • periods of sadness

There are two very broad categories of symptoms typically experiences by persons with bipolar II disorder; hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms. The symptoms of mania involve an excess in behavioral activity, mood states (in particular, irritability or positive feelings), and self-esteem and confidence.

Euphoric or Expansive Mood. The client’s mood is abnormally elevated; for example, he or she is extremely happy or excited (euphoria). The person may tend to talk more and with greater enthusiasm or emphasis on certain topics (expansiveness).

Diagnosing Bipolar II in teens.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children and teens can be very difficult.  Often symptoms of bipolar II appear to mimic those of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Diagnosing bipolar disorder in teens is similar to adults. There’s no particular diagnostic test, so your doctor may ask a set of questions about your teens mood, sleep patterns, and behavior. If your child’s behavior and attitude are episodic, a bipolar disorder diagnosis could be made. The doctor may also ask about family history of depression, as well as checking thyroid function to rule out an underactive thyroid. In addition to the interview questions the diagnostician must make sure other physical problems are not present.  Conditions that could produce symptoms similar to those found in bipolar disorder, such as a brain tumor or alcohol or drug abuse need to be ruled out. Bipolar II disorder cannot be diagnosed with a blood test, an X ray, a CAT scan, or any other laboratory test.

How Is Bipolar Disorder II Distinguished from Bipolar I Disorder?

Often persons with a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder may also have had diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Diagnostic uncertainty results because during an episode of mania a psychotic symptom such as delusional grandiosity (such as a belief that a person is Jesus Christ) may reflect either mania, schizophrenia, or a schizoaffective disorder. However the symptoms of these three disorders tend to differ.

What Causes Bipolar II Disorder?

The cause of Bipolar II disorder is not known at this time. Theories suggest that an imbalance in chemicals in the brain, particularly norepinephrine, could play role in Bipolar.

Bipolar II Treatment

Medications do not “cure” the disorder, but do reduce the symptoms and prevent relapses from occurring. Lithium is the most common drug used for bipolar disorder.

Many persons with the disorder can benefit from supportive counseling to learn how to manage the disorder, as well as deal with its impact on their lives. Research has shown that Dialectical behavioral therapy can be effective. Also family therapy can reduce stress and teach family members how to monitor the disorder.